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Lakay having fun and finding his rhythm at SuperSport

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Like any other senior player, Lyle Lakay must ensure that he holds the hands of the youngsters, ensuring that they deliver for the team week in and week out.

Lyle Lakay (left) of Supersport United in action during the DStv Premiership 2023/24 football match against Cape Town City at Cape Town Stadium on 28 February 2024. Picture: Nic Bothma, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

Lyle Lakay is enjoying his football again at SuperSport United, and he’s confident that he’ll reach the targets he has set for himself this season.

Two seasons ago, Lakay was the talk of the town after he won the Defender of the Season award while still on the books of serial champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

That recognition divided the football fraternity, as some believed that he didn’t deserve it, and some believed he did. But the left back was found wanting last season after the arrival of Terrence Mashego, while Sundowns also had Aubrey Modiba on board.

Lakay eventually headed to Cape Town City on loan last season, sparking rumours that he would eventually leave Sundowns this season. And indeed that was the case. The 32-year-old joined Sundowns’ cross-town rivals SuperSport, where he’s thriving once more on the left wing.

Speaking on the sidelines of the renewal of the partnership between the club and Huawei on Tuesday, Lakay opened up on closing in on his target for the term.

“I think I am well on track with reaching my goals of the season, which was to obviously get a double figure between goals and assists,” he said.

“I think I am on nine now (four goals and five assists) and we still have nine games left in the DStv Premiership, and there’s still the Nedbank Cup to play for.”

Lakay might be in his first season at the club, but his work is cut out for him, given his experience and journeyman status. Like any other senior player, Lakay must ensure that he holds the hands of the youngsters, ensuring that they deliver for the team week in and week out.

“SuperSport is known as a team that produces a lot of youngsters,” said Lakay, before explaining what the roles of the seniors are in the team.

“If I am not mistaken, we have the average youngest team in the league. There are a few youngsters that are starting to make a name for themselves. There’s Ime Okon, Shandré Campbell, and Gape Moralo. There’s a lot of them now, and it’s important (to guide them). That’s part of the club’s culture.”

But while Lakay and Co must guide the youngsters, they must remember that football is a game of wins. So, they must be at their best at all times.

With Sundowns on course to claim a record seventh title in a row as they lead the league table, SuperSport can save their season with a top-three finish. And that’s not all. They could also win the Nedbank Cup, where they’ll face the high-flying Stellenbosch FC in the quarter-finals in two weeks.

A top-three finish and a Nedbank Cup title guarantees teams a return to African football next season – a stage that Lakay wants to return to after the recent disappointments.

“We are disappointed, obviously. But like you mentioned, I don’t think it was a blessing in disguise to crash out of the Confederation Cup,” he said.

“Personally, I believe the more you play, the more rhythm you’ll get. If you win it, then you are motivated to keep doing better.

“It was our first season together. I don’t know if we’ll be back in the Confederation Cup or the Champions League. We are hoping to qualify again for next season.”

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